Alum Kameron Herndon reflects on his experience in the Marine Corps


Ashley Ortizcazarin

Kameron Herndon decided to push himself by joining the Marine Corps.

2017 BSM grad Kameron Herndon chose a unique path for his post high school plans. Instead of applying to college, Herndon decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. This means that Herndon would become an active-duty soldier and a fully-fledged Marine after thirteen weeks of rigorous training.

The first night at Marine boot camp was incredibly hectic and a complete culture change for Herndon. “By the end of that day we were bald, wearing our government issued gear and completely stripped of our civilian identity” Herndon said. The next thirteen weeks were going to be challenging because the men and women in boot camp would be transformed from civilians into active-duty Marine Corps soldiers.

Herndon traveled to San Diego to complete his training. “The majority of boot camp took place at Marine Corps recruit depot San Diego, right next to the airport. However during the weeks we shot our rifles, went to the field and did the crucible, we took a bus up to Camp Pendelton, which was 40 minutes north” Herndon said.  

While the challenges of boot camp were very intense, Herndon found a sense of purpose in his work. The marines that he was living and training with became his brothers. The sense of camaraderie was instrumental for success in boot camp. “Bootcamp brought a hundred kids all from different walks of life together. We were forced to set aside our differences if we were to complete the  tasks given to us. While it was hard sometimes, I ended up making some outstanding friends over there” Herndon said. 

The Marine Corps is incredibly physical. The Corps emphasizes physical and mental fortitude because the nature of their role as soldiers will demand them to be in peak physical condition. On top of individual physical capability, having the team support you and supporting the team is paramount to success through boot camp. “I realized the extent of our bond when I got a heat injury towards the end of a hike. What seemed like the whole platoon helped carry me up the last hills to bring me back to the barracks… I made sure to properly hydrate after that incident, but it just cemented the fact that the Marines to my left and right would always have my back,” Herndon said. 

Although the Marine boot camp was physically and mentally demanding, long, and grueling, Herndon is content with the decision that he made. While the temptation of a relatively luxurious college life can be enticing, Herndon wouldn’t change his decision to become a United States Marine for the world. “Simply claiming the title of United States Marine makes the months of struggle worth it,” Herndon said.